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Jamie Varner Returns, Wins by First-Round Knockout

Jamie VarnerJust four weeks after announcing his retirement from mixed martial arts following a disappointing loss, Jamie Varner returned to the cage on Friday night and won a first-round knockout victory over Nate Jolly.

The fight lasted just 1 minute, 10 seconds, and it was a mismatch: The fighters clinched, Varner used a trip-takedown to get on top of Jolly on the ground, then he simply unloaded a barrage of punches that knocked Jolly out. Jolly barely put up a fight.

Varner credited his coaches for convincing him not to retire, and for getting him into better shape for this fight than he was for his loss last month.

"If it wasn't for the guys standing behind me," Varner said, "those are the people who really believed in me when I didn't believe in myself."

Varner's victory was the final fight in an XFC card that featured a great story on the undercard: Mikey Gomez stepped into the cage and fought just hours after his father died, deciding to go through with the bout as a tribute to his dad. Gomez looked great, showing off a nice bit of Brazilian jiu jitsu to fight his way out of an arm bar attempt from Mike Bernhard only to transition into a dominant position and end up forcing Bernhard to tap out to a rear-naked choke.

In other XFC action:
-- Carmelo Marrero beat Scott Barrett by unanimous decision in a sloppy, ugly heavyweight fight.
-- Marianna Kheyfets turned Molly Helsel's face into a bloody mess in the process of winning a unanimous decision in a women's 125-pound fight.
-- Reggie Pena beat Josh Clark by unanimous decision.
-- Nicolae Cury forced Elijah Harshbargar to tap out to an arm bar at just 1 minute, 27 seconds of the first round.
-- John Mahlo beat Bruce Connors by unanimous decision, 30-27 on all three judges' cards.